The Legend of Vox Machina animated series: the Critical Role TV show explained

The Legend of Vox Machina
(Image credit: Kickstarter / Art by Critter Selina Erika Espiritu (@siriusdraws))

It's official: The Legend of Vox Machina is coming to the small screen.

After an incredibly successful 2019 Kickstarter campaign saw $11 million pledged towards an animated series based on Campaign 1 of the Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role, a 24-episode show is headed to Amazon Prime Video in 2022. 

Hosted by an array of esteemed American voice actors, and with a thriving international fan base, Critical Role may be the best-known example of 'actual play' D&D, where a group of friends get together and stream their dice-rolling adventures at the table. (You can check out our best D&D podcasts and web series guide for an introduction to a few more.)

Whether you're new to the world of Critical Role, or a seasoned fan looking forward to a new way to experience its lore, the imminent arrival of The Legend of Vox Machina should provide some well-deserved small screen exposure for this beloved universe.

Below, we'll run you through what to expect in terms of the show's story, voice cast, streaming access, and more – as well as the likelihood of a follow-up series based on Critical Role's second and third campaigns.

The Legend of Vox Machina release date

The Legend of Vox Machina is arriving on Prime Video January 28, 2022. 

Like much of the film and TV industry throughout 2020, the show ran into production troubles in light of the ongoing pandemic. It was initially slated to start dropping episodes in "Fall 2020" (September-December), though its release date was revised to 2022.

According to Amazon, the first season will consist of 12 episodes released over four weeks, with three episodes premiering every week. The already-green-lit second season is expected to follow later in the year.

The Legend of Vox Machina

(Image credit: Kickstarter / Art by Critter Hunter Bonyun (@deerlordhunter))

The Legend of Vox Machina: where can you watch it?

The Legend of Vox Machina will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, after the streaming service stepped in to back the animated series for an additional 14 episodes on top of the 10 episodes funded through the Kickstarter.

Backers will still get the entire first season as part of their pledge, and early access to the opening two episodes of the season, though the exact details and timings of this remain unclear.

We're also told that "the series will be dubbed, subtitled, and otherwise localized for our very much global audience".

The Legend of Vox Machina story and characters

For those of you expecting a retread of Campaign 1, that won't quite be the case. 

The Kickstarter for the show reveals that the animated series will cover a "brand new story" and "in-canon adventure", created by the cast and scripted by screenwriter Jennifer Muro, who has worked on other animated series' such as Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, Spider-Man, and Justice League: Action.

The first two episodes will act as a prequel adventure, with the original members of Vox Machina at level 7 prior to the streamed episodes – which kick off with the party's arrival at the Dwarven city of Kraghammer.

However, the successful stretch goals will mean that the Briarwoods arc from the streamed campaign will also get its own batch of animated episodes. 

The Legend of Vox Machina

(Image credit: Kickstarter / Critical Role)

The Legend of Vox Machina trailers

You can get a sense of the show's art style, humor and scope in its latest trailer, which we've included below.

Prior to the above trailer's release, though, we were treated to the animated intro for the series, which shows off the party members of Vox Machina: Keyleth the druid, Percy the gunslinger, Grog the barbarian, Pike the cleric, Scanlan the bard, Vex the ranger, and Vax the rogue. 

The soundtrack here is the same one used for intros to current actual play episodes, which we expect will be used in some form for the final animated series.

In mid-2020, the Critical Role team also released a behind-the-scenes video of the ongoing animation work happening at Titmouse, which included artist interviews and examples of the show's environmental art.

The Legend of Vox Machina: who's involved?

Naturally, the original cast for Campaign 1: Vox Machina will be reprising their roles for the animated series. 

It helps that the whole cast are quite seasoned voice actors in their own right: Laura Bailey having voiced both Kat from Gears 5 and Abby from The Last of Us Part 2, Ashley Johnson voicing Ellie in The Last of Us games, Matt Mercer voicing Levi in the English dub of Attack on Titan and McCree in the PvP game Overwatch, and Sam Riegel having voiced Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attorney games, to name but a few of the cast's immense catalogue of credits.

There's been no word yet on guest appearances, with Critical Role often featuring outside players for one-off games or small plot arcs, with Will Wheaton and Joe Manganiello both appearing in Campaign 1. We would expect guests to reprise their roles where relevant, though.

The Kickstarter page states that, "to round out the main cast, we’ll bring in some extra special celebrity cameos, as well as voice over industry legends."

The Legend of Vox Machina

The Critical Role cast (Image credit: Kickstarter / Critical Role)

The animation studio at the heart of it all is Titmouse, an American outfit that produces a host of animated programming, including shows for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney XD, Fox, and Hulu. Some of the studio's most notable output is for Netflix, as with the Netflix show Big Mouth (starring John Mulaney) and The Midnight Gospel.

The artists working on The Legend of Vox Machina will specifically be "led by Art Director Arthur Loftis and Supervising Director Sung Jin Ahn."

Critical Role has announced that "the vast majority of our resources" (around 74%) would go "into the animation budget."

The Mighty Nein animated series: could it happen?

For now, the Critical Role team is occupied with the animated series of their first campaign, Vox Machina, but the popularity of subsequent seasons could pave the way for more spin-off shows based on Critical Role's other campaigns and storylines.

Campaign 2: The Mighty Nein concluded in June 2021, while Campaign 3 began in October the same year, so there's no shortage of D&D adventures to translate to the small screen.

It's likely we won't hear anything about a Mighty Nein animated series for a while yet, but the overwhelming interest in the Kickstarter for Vox Machina suggests there's a lot of mileage in animated adaptations of Critical Role's ongoing hijinks.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.